When you're remodeling basements, you are likely to encounter load bearing walls. You're mostly likely to have beams in the ceiling situated at different levels.
When your remodeling basements, there will likely be utility services. These services will probably will be in the way for the renovation plans you have for this space.
Moving utility services is tricky, requires a professional and will cost extra money. But sometimes, moving these obstacles is worth the time, "dust" and money.
Get your contractor or architect to re-work the design layout of your electrical, duct-work and plumbing.
Make sure he re-designs the layout so that these utilities are accessible for the future - but are still hidden from view.
This is extremely difficult with a low ceiling. So your contractor will have to be very creative here.
It's also a great idea to "design" columns and beams with the utilities running through them. Make these features instead of flaws.
Moving structural walls or beams is an expensive task. The marketplace provides long beams (special structural beams) and specialized supporting posts for all kinds of applications.
There isn't a problem with structure that can't be resolved. The question is, "What are you willing to pay for that work?"
Your central home heating system should adequately handle heating the basement. An HVAC contractor will be able to ascertain your heat/cooling load through a calculation.
But if your heating doesn't meet the minimum standard for heating, in-floor heating can be installed. In-floor heating may even decrease the basement moisture levels.
Add a gas or electric fireplace as well. Not only will it look nice, but it now becomes an additional heat source.
A dehumidifier, either built into the furnace or a stand-alone unit should be in your basement.
Many basement remodeling contractors prefer rigid polystyrene foam as opposed to fiberglass insulation. Polystyrene will be more expensive to buy and install.
You should plan for the unexpected when remodeling a basement. You never know when there might be an unexpected flood or burst pipe.
The rigid foam may be more difficult to install in remodeling a basement than fiberglass but it's worth the extra effort today for potential problems in the future.
You can also have foam sprayed into the basement. Foam insulation will be more expensive than fiberglass.
I would recommend installing a sub-floor prior to installing any carpet, hardwood, tile or laminate on the bare concrete floors.
With a proper subfloor, you'll be able to manage with warmer floors, moisture and hardness.
No matter what level is the grading from the sewage lines or septic system, a bathroom can be installed into any basement.
Sewage normally drains by gravity from the upper levels of a home down and through to the sewage system or municipal sewer system.
But when you're below grade, you may be below these sewage lines.
There are special sewage pumps that can be purchased from any hardware store and these will be installed in your basement to pump the sewage up into the existing sewer drain lines above. Once the sewage gets up to the drainage lines, they will flow by gravity into the municipal sewage system or your septic system.
Basement Drainage System
Here in Ontario, Canada it is required to have a sump pump and pit. Not all municipalities require this. They should.
But just because your municipality doesn't require a sump pump and pit in their building codes doesn't mean you shouldn't put one in.
I've inspected homes that are situated in lower wet areas that have 2 and sometimes 3 sump pumps built into them.
I live on a lake. My basement was built with 2 drainage pits each with their own sump pump.
No matter what designing you do to remodeling basements, a plan for drainage should be factored in.
It will need a backwater valve to prevent outside water from coming in during from heavy rain or flood.
Seek A Qualified Professional
Remodeling basements is not like the other levels in the house. Different construction considerations will need to be adhered too for this space. Seek a qualified contractor that has experience in basement remodeling.
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